Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Onslaught Mode Review

Now that Onslaught has dropped for us 360 owners, I finally had the chance to try the mode out for myself. Onslaught is a $10 four player co-op mode which sees individual squads running through old maps with mostly cosmetic, though some gameplay oriented, changes.

If you’ve read anything by me, you know how I tend to approach things. Go big or go home. In Bad Company 2, I played so much I was placed in the top thousand in the leaderboard–the only reason that I wasn’t in the top few hundred is because as I got better at the game, finals were rolling around the corner and I had to stop playing as maniacly as I was. And with the upkeep of this site, in conjunction with, you know, life, my special alone time with BC2 has severely diminished. Anyway, what I’m trying to get at here is some sort of justification as to why I started off playing Onslaught on the ‘hard’ difficulty instead of normal.

Unlike other game modes, you can’t access Onslaught from the  normal multiplayer menus. Instead, it has its own separate entry on the main menu. Here, you can define the difficulty–I went with hard, as you know–as well as choose one of the 4 available maps. I assume that DICE will be releasing other maps sometime, albeit probably ones we’ve already seen before, as they have been doing for Rush/Conquest/SDM. The game found a match in no time, and soon enough I found myself in Nelson Bay along with 4 other folks who all, interestingly enough, had microphones. Never before, in my hundreds of hours of playing BC2, had I ever been in a match with complete randoms, who all had mics.

The thing about Onslaught is, it’s been marketed as a mode that encourages, hones, or introduces team-oriented play for both veterans and newbies alike. So don’t be surprised if the people you play with tend to have mics, like to communicate, and want to work together to get the job done. In this sense, Onslaught is what Squad Rush should have been. At current, SR is really just a very slow-paced version of Rush, which heavily encourages camping for defenders. Definitely not the more ‘tight knit’ version of Rush which requires cooperative squad play. Onslaught, however, fits that bill perfectly.

To put it simply, you will get crushed if you do not work as a team in Onslaught. And this isn’t just the case in Hard mode, either. The enemies are smart and unrelentless. As soon as you kill one wave of enemies coming down the map, a new slew of enemies starts dropping in. These enemies will throw motion sensors to figure out where you are, destroy anything to get to you, and they will flank you. If you’re on your own, you will get overwhelmed very, very quickly. This is a marked difference from Gear’s Horde mode, where, higher difficulty really just meant that enemies do more damage to you and are pretty much aimbots that can snipe you the second that they spawn across the map. And, due to this, Onslaught is immensely more gratifying and fun than Horde mode, too. Any victories that you experience are the direct result of good communication and tactical play. Thus, even for a veteran like me, who usually has no trouble on Rush mode, I found that Onslaught challenged me with the constant demand of high level-play. I imagine that newbie players will also greatly benefit from this mode, as it will instill all the basics necessary to be a good Rush player.

I played through all four of the available maps, and trust me, even though you’ve played in these maps before, you haven’t experienced the maps like this. Valparaiso at night is a completely different beast, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Having your enemies come from dark corners, or not being able to see quite where you’re being shot from makes playing on Valparaiso a fantastic high tension adventure. And then you factor in that sometimes there will be a couple of tanks right on top of your objective, or boats on the shore which you aren’t expecting to be there? Truly, a blast.

All the maps have vehicles which you can use to get to your objective–from Apaches to simple quad bikes. Still don’t think that this makes it any easier for you…once, when rolling into the first part of Valparaiso with a tank, my driver and I got blown to hell within seconds of getting into the enemies’ view. The enemies are smart, and will use everything in their arsenal to take any advantages you might have away from you. They aren’t always advantages, either–on Isla Innocentes, I flew in with my squad via Blackhawk, and was quickly overwhelmed because the objective is right in the middle of the island. This meant that we were, for the most part, completely visible and had no cover to take advantage of. After playing about a dozen matches, Isla Innocentes is the only map which we were not able to beat. Having a Blackhawk to get to the objective quickly and easily did us no favors.

Still, I imagine that once people figure out the ins-and-outs of Onslaught on the few maps available, vehicles will be a big factor in shaving off time from your counter. Since we played through Nelson Bay a good 4 times, we started developing the paths to get through quickly and efficiently. In doing so, I noticed that enemies would always be, at least initially, in the same place. Thus I fully expect more hardcore players who have their mind set on a high leaderboard standing to begin memorizing the location of enemy soldiers. This will be further facilitated by the fact that enemies will always drop in or respawn in the same general area on any given map.

Furthermore, Onslaught has its own slew of achievements/trophies for those who are interested in that sort of thing, not to mention, as you might have guessed, a leaderboard. For those of you that aren’t particularly competitive against others, Onslaught also keeps track of your personal best time on any given map. Such inclusions, while minor, will add replay value to the few maps available. I found that, once we had a sense of how things worked on a map, my squad then moved on to see how fast we could get through it. The best-times feature becomes a communal goal–further encouraging tight, tactical squad-based play.

Thus, despite only playing about a dozen matches of Onslaught, I feel comfortable stating that Onslaught is well worth the ten bucks. Those of you that enjoy Horde mode on Gears will find that Onslaught improves the formula, and those of us that enjoy Bad Company 2 in general will all find that Onslaught has something great to offer us. I look forward to playing more of it as I await the 360’s version of the Medal of Honor beta, or even the Vietnam expansion pack which is slated to hit sometime this fall.


  1. Bluberry

    Very solid review. Agree with your assessment completely. Well done.

  2. david

    good review. not sure why you have to explain yourself and make excuses about dropping out the top 1000 though.

    • mostly because it sets context for why i choose hard, since most people wouldn’t, and it might change how you take what i’ve said, since all of these impressions come from me playing at a higher difficulty than normal

  3. I had some great games of Onslaught last night with friends. On hard too because easy is just *too* easy! Hard is a great challenge but no moment really stands out, probably because I’m aware we’re fighting against computer controlled AI.

    That said, I don’t regret buying it!

  4. Brant

    Can anyone tell me if the “Hardcore” AIs are actually any smarter than the “Hard” AIs? Because I personally prefer hardcore mode in online (makes my MG3 actually useful, and it makes it so medics are important), but if “Hard” is just as intelligent, that would make that difficulty harder for me than “Hardcore”. In which case I’d feel a requirement to do it.

  5. AsherDee

    You say that if you played it more often you would be in the top few hundreds, I very much doubt that if you couldn’t beat hard mode on Isla Innocentes, I did it with my squad first time, and they got about 15kills each… I racked up over 50. Its not that difficult.

    • Uh huh, and you probably did it with a team of people you knew. I played with complete randoms.

  6. Clancy Carr

    *sigh* when i access Onslaught mode i cannot kill enemys. i mean, my bullets don’t do any damage and my grenades, C4 etc don’t do anything. I can, however, deposite ammo kits and the like to gain points and give my squad ammunition. I understand that many people are having this problem, but DICE asn’t patched it and it has been out for almost a year now :/